The downside of Invisalign

October 27th, 2007

Teeth with Invisalign trayInvisalign, which offers a series of removable trays to align the teeth, has become a widely popular alternative to traditional braces. Invisalign trays are nearly impossible to detect, making them especially popular among adults who don’t want the adolescent look of braces. Rather than being cemented to your teeth like traditional braces, they can be removed entirely when eating or brushing your teeth, so you no longer have to worry about abstaining from certain foods or not being able to floss properly. While Invisalign offers considerable benefits, there are negatives as well which should be considered. No one told me about these reasons to not get Invisalign. I offer them now so that other people can make more informed decisions:

  • Although it is easier to brush and floss, any bacteria not removed from your teeth and gums will spend 20 hours a day locked inside the Invisalign tray. Your visits to the dentist may turn up more gum pocketing and plaque build-up than you are used to as a result. There can sometimes be a bad taste and odor from wearing the tray, particularly first thing in the morning.
  • Every time you eat, you need to thoroughly clean your teeth and your Invisalign tray before putting it back in your mouth. For frequent snackers (like me), this can be quite a hassle, and may require you to adjust your eating schedule. On the other hand, this can be an added incentive for those trying to break bad eating habits or lose weight.
  • You must be very disciplined and organized; leaving your tray out for more than 4 hours per day, even occasionally, will reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. If you often find yourself running to work or school in a hurry after breakfast, and have a tendency to leave things behind, you may want to think twice about Invisalign. Going without it out for an 8-hour workday is not an option. Also, even disciplined patients have a tendency to slack off over time. This will inhibit the effectiveness of Invisalign. Consider the length of your treatment when deciding which method to choose. I consider myself very disciplined but toward the end I got very sloppy. As a result, my last two trays didn’t fit exactly right.
  • The treatment process for many people includes “shaving” your teeth down to create more space in your mouth for the teeth to move. This shaving is uncomfortable, but there is no lasting pain from it. If you have fillings in the areas needing to be shaved, the process is significantly more cumbersome and uncomfortable.
  • At the end of your treatment your teeth may not be perfectly straight. The orthodontist can do nothing about it except take all new impressions and get a new set of trays, which can add months onto your treatment plan. With traditional braces, the orthodontist can make a quick adjustment to fix any misalignments.
  • Although not scientifically studied, some people have complained about allergic reactions to the plastic used in the Invisalign trays. Allergy symptoms complained of include sore throat, cough, nausea, or constant throat clearing which goes away when the tray is removed. I did not experience any problems like this personally.
  • Once the treatment phase is over, and you enter into the retainer period, you have to wear the Invisalign tray every night, indefinitely. If you’re already experiencing problems with allergies, gum disease, or tooth decay, this can be a serious issue. You may be able to work with your orthodontist to use a traditional style retainer, instead of the Invisalign tray. I have been wearing my retainer tray now for 2 years and I am completely sick of dealing with it.

Whether to go with traditional braces or Invisalign, will be dependant on your lifestyle, habits, and personality. While there are pros and cons to every option, don’t let that deter you from going forward with orthodontics. If crooked teeth are annoying you or preventing you from smiling and feeling great about yourself, then the benefits of orthodontics will far outweigh the downsides.

Even though the Invisalign braces were a big hassle, I am so happy with the way my teeth look. I smile a whole lot more than I used to and I never cover my teeth anymore.

Have you had positive or negative experiences with Invisalign? I’d love to hear about it!

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107 Responses to “The downside of Invisalign”

  1. Heckash Says:

    I am on tray 37 of 38 and have found the whole experience to be easy. I had braces when I was younger, wore my retainers religiously until my ortho told me I could stop. Now 15 years later I found my teeth actively moving. Plus, my bite was all screwed up again. You couldn’t even see my bottom teeth. Traditional braces were not an option. So, I started in January of 2015. The first set was definitely uncomfortable. It’s a foreign object in your mouth and your teeth don’t settle together. I definitely wondered what I had gotten myself into. There was a bit of rubbing on the bottom of my tongue, but I took a nail file and smoothed it out. Worked like a charm. After the first few sets, my ortho put on 12 buttons. Again, no big deal. They aren’t rough or annoying at all.

    I wear them on average 21 hours a day. It’s not hard to do. Every morning I take a dedicated cleaning toothbrush and some antibacterial soap and scrub them inside and outside. After each meal I brush my teeth, rinse them off and pop them back in. Every night I floss and do it all over again the next day. You get into a rhythm and becomes second nature. Every 2 weeks, I plan on having a day or two of uncomfortable teeth and eat accordingly. Not once did I experience true pain. The results have been great.

    You will notice that your molars don’t touch. I find it difficult to eat something thin like lettuce, but you can still do it. They haven’t altered my eating habits much at all. Sure, I can’t bite into something hard and crusty like a baguette (someone mentioned that earlier). But I can break it into smaller pieces. I was hoping to lose weight, but I found my self just eating larger meals to make up for the lack of snacking.

    No one has really noticed them. The lisp went away after the first few days. Even people I know very well didn’t know I was wearing them. If you keep them clean, don’t eat or drink with them in, and stick to water, they will stay nice and clear. People who don’t care for them properly will likely notice them turning yellow and then your teeth will look dirty.

    I now know that I will have to have refinements. My teeth still need to move a bit to perfect my bite. I had my impressions done today and the new trays will come in about 5 weeks. The treatment will take much longer than I originally thought. But, I want to make sure it’s done right.

    If you aren’t committed to the process and willing to do what you are told, including wearing them 20-22 hours a day and having retainers indefinitely, don’t bother. It’ll just be a waste of money and time. I hate to hear about people who had physical reactions to the trays. I read about that before I started treatment, knew it was a possibility and chose to continue anyway. It’s rare and Invisalign changed their formula a few years back to help reduce the allergic reactions.

    Go into this with eyes wide open. It’s not a cake walk. You are moving your teeth slowly and that isn’t going to be pleasant. Make sure you go to an orthodontist who will actively monitor the process from beginning to end.

    I am glad I did Invisalign and excited to be done soon.

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  4. Amy from Atlanta Says:

    my jaw has begun clicking. Invisalign is over and just wearing The retainers now. My teeth are straight but this jaw thing is new and I’m concerned about it. Anyone else experience it?

  5. deepika Says:

    My cousin has severely rotated teeth that is moving from normal position more than 20 degrees, is it suitable for them invisalign treatment.

  6. KIm Says:

    I’m on day 3 of Invisalign. The first few hours were fine and then in the evening I felt like I had been punched in the face. I took 400mg of Ibuprofen to help with the pain that night and into the next day. All of the facial pain is gone but I still feel tender sensation on my lower front gum line. I have a metallic taste in my mouth all day as well as mouth dryness that won’t go away with water. As soon as I take out the tray the taste starts to goes away. So I’m thinking there’s something in the plastic that my mouth doesn’t like. Anyone else have this happen? I can already feel a shift in my teeth and they are not aligning anymore when I bit down or chew when the tray is out!

  7. Laura Says:

    Due to the shifting of my teeth during the invisalign process, my root canal tooth was messed up & I ended up losing the whole tooth. I have to get a implant when i can afford it. I experience gum recession as well. The teeth look nice from the front, so that helps my confidence. I wore retainer for 2 years, irritated my gums to much so I stopped. Plus dentist said it was creating too much space between teeth.

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